Glenwood should be proud of late, great Marine
My purpose in writing this letter to your paper is to recognize and pay tribute to a great Marine and citizen of this country, M.G. Jack P. Juhan, whose family resided in Glenwood Springs. He was my father’s (M.G. Arthur H. “Tex” Butler) best friend and they served together in Nicaragua, China, World War II and several other assignments during their parallel 30-year careers after which they both retired as major generals.
Glenwood Springs should be proud of Jack, who was a loving father and husband but first and foremost he was the quintessential Marine to the core of his soul. He was most certainly one of those men who stood at the forefront of those Tom Brokaw referred to in his book “The Greatest Generation.” His contribution to the freedom of this country began while fighting the rebels in Nicaragua (1928), and as a Shanghai Marine in China where he fought in a number of skirmishes with the Japanese during their occupation of China (1931-1933). His combat experience developed through some very intense firefights during the China campaign.
This earlier combat experience held Gen. Juhan in good stead for he was already combat tested when WWII started in the Pacific with its dual advance to the Philippines. The Dual Advance consisted of Gen. MacArthur’s southwest Pacific approach and Admiral Nimitz’s Central Pacific advance through the Marianas which started in June 1944.
Gen. Juhan served with extraordinary distinction and heroism in Saipan as a battalion commander where the enemy was entrenched in fortified caves and underground defenses with a strength of 32,000 Japanese soldiers. The capture of Saipan cost 16,500 casualties, including 3,400 dead. Additionally, he served as XO, 8th Marine Regiment and as assistant chief of staff, G-2 (intelligence), 2nd Marine Division on both Saipan and Tinian. As a result of better fire support from artillery, naval air and naval gunfire Tinian was less intense and the 2nd and 4th Marine divisions mopped up Tinian in two weeks. The fighting on Saipan, however, was characterized by some of the most bloody and intense fighting in the Pacific Theater. Marines withstood banzai attacks from the Japanese in many cases resulting in hand-to-hand fighting. The bravery of the ordinary Marine became commonplace under the outstanding leadership and heroism of tough, hard-nosed commanders like Gen. Juhan.
Gen. Juhan completed his combat duty on Okinawa, the last major Japanese outpost before Japan, where U.S. Forces attacked with 182,000 amphibious troops (combined Army and Marines) against a heavily fortified enemy force of 100,000 troops, in a campaign that took four months. He served as the G-2, intelligence of the 2nd marine Division on this operation where the fighting was often intense. Casualties for this operation were nearly 13,000 killed (3,400 Marines KIA). This was the most deadly of all the campaigns. The enemy had to be dug out of their holes and caves where they fought in many cases to the last man.
He also served in the Korean War from 1953-1954 during a very unsettled time as the cease-fire was being implemented.
This extraordinary man, Marine, husband, father and citizen through his contribution and devotion to his county has helped maintain the freedoms we enjoy today. May he be blessed with fair winds, following seas and our eternal love and gratitude for his great service to this nation as he goes to his final resting place.
Arthur H. Butler
LTC., USA, Retired
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